Interview. Anna Khachian

Interview with the president of “Enlight” Public Research Center NGO  Anna Khachian.

How did you become the president of the “Enlight” Public Research Center NGO.

According to the Charter of the organization, presidential elections are held once in two years (according to the previous Charter, once a year), when the president and the vice-president are elected together. Before the elections, I had been the vice-president of the organization for two years.

And in May 2018, the current vice president Davit Petrosyan and I placed our candidacy and were elected. There were fair and transparent elections.

What skills do you think are needed to preside over the organization?

Technical, conceptual and communicative skills are needed along with their components: skills to outline activities, time management, human and material resource management, organizational awareness, decision making as well as problem resolution, delegation of functions, interpersonal communication, abilities to negotiate, and of course leadership. Qualifications should be developed through permanent and consecutive work.

But the values are as important (if not more) as skills..

What especially attracts you in your job?

The vision and the mission, the nature of my job, the actual work (process) and the result of the following chain.

What is the primary goal of the “Enlight” Public Research Center NGO?

The main goal of “Enlight”, in accordance with the Charter, is the organization of the structural (functional) social thought. The latter includes the organization of communication between the public stakeholders, materialization of intellectual potential  for the public interest, crystallization and development of public research and analytical field. 

Thought-speech-action: Here is the chain, which is the short definition of that goal.

The organization was renamed several times. Why?

Dating back to 2008, the organization has an eleven-year-old trajectory of sustaining and development. The period of 2008-2016 can be named as a “pre-organizational” phase, because it acted as a club, then as an initiative, and only in 2016 it was registered as an NGO with the name of “Armenian Center of Young Analysts” (ACoYA). In fact, it was legally renamed once: October 2018, when “ACoYA” became “Enlight” Public Research Center NGO.

The renaming was first of all determined by the activity scope expansion, which included (would include) research, educational, translation, informational, publishing activity in parallel with the analytic operation. The problem and the goal are to create a platform for the self-expression and self-realization of each member, and create a community where it will be possible to create much greater value(s)  combined thoughts, efforts and work.  

And, of course, the “young” component constrained us a bit as we grew old. Surely, I am joking. Youth, I think, first of all means thinking, courage, world outlook, and emotional state, only then biological timel-spatial measuring. Yet, the presence of that word in the name of the organization was already problematic, and not so compatible with the new format of the organization’s activities.

Why is the organization called “Enlight” now?

During the renaming process, we had an internal discussion to suggest the organization’s new name versions. There were more than a dozen of suggestions. It was necessary to choose a short, memorable, euphonious (considering our quinti-lingual audience) that would be associated with the nature of the organization. As a result, we chose ‘’Enlight’’ (which, by the way, was the vice president’s suggestion). Surely, it is related to the words and expressions such as “light, enlighten, to cast a light on, to illuminate”. Interestingly, the name itself reflects thought-speech-action polyphony and symbolizes both the idea, material and the drama. 

I would like to refer to the intuitive exchange of the slogan of the organization which is adjunct to its name: “Dare to think” (which, by the way, was inherited from the ACoYA). The expression  in Latin – “Sapere Aude!”. It was the slogan of the Enlightenment Age and has come from the Letters of Roman writer Horatius.. The essence is “dare to think and realize your idea.

What do you especially pay attention to when you choose the members of the organization?

Details. Greeks said that there are no details in the work: the way of talking and writing, professional skills, professionalism, courage, zeal, responsibility.

However, while choosing a teammate (with whom we should walk this path), I am guided by Warren Buffett. The three most important criteria are։ intellect, enthusiasm and honesty. “Moreover, if the last component is missing, the first two will ruin you,” Buffett mentioned.

The integrity of the character assumes individuality, own horizon, value system, taste and the main features: honesty, openness, virtue. Of course, people with such characteristic features are the developers of the organization and it’s possible to go far only with such people.

Liberalism is one of the ideologies of “Enlight”. How is it expressed in your work?

It is one of the ideas of the organization rather than ideologies. There is a drastic difference between the terms ideology’’ and ‘’idea’’. Armenia-centeredness and liberalism. These are the basic ideas of Enlight. If Armenia-centrality concerns state and public interest of the Republic of Armenia, then liberalism serves people and citizens’ interests, democratic values, social justice, equality of rights, freedom of thought, speech, conscience. It is the warrant of common sense, therefore, these two ideas complement and condition each other. They are built and constantly rebuilt on the value system, whose pillars are person, citizen, homeland, statehood and humanity.

As for the question how it is expressed in our work – it is expressed directly. All our initiatives, projects, ideas are based on before-mentioned components and are intended to realize them. It demands long term and permanent work, the way of which is the ability to turn education, self-education, creativity, knowledge into a humanitarian value.

Why should people join “Enlight” NGO? How does it differ from other NGOs?

Let me start with the end: the organization stands out with its originality, uniqueness and multi-profile capital production. There is definitely no other similar organization in Armenia. I should excitedly and proudly mention that the organization has been operating for about 11 years exclusively on a volunteer basis ( 3 years as an NGO). Everything that currently exists in “Enlight” is the result of the work of our team – members and volunteers – of their dedication and contribution. It’s exclusive. In our organization, each volunteer is a member of a specific department, has its precise functions and working agenda. And today we have an organization with stable labour culture and policy that still has a lot to do.

Let’s conclude from this point why join “Enlight”. We say, “Enlight belongs to each of its members”.  It’s a community, a platform where each member having the above-mentioned characteristics – intellect, enthusiasm and decency, also sharing the organization’s ideas, can emerge, sustain, achieve valuable experience, learn and teach, create and build alongside us. “Enlight” waits for those who are sure to be the people outlining and modeling the future with their thoughts, speech and activity.

Three things that attract you  in “Enlight” the most are?.

The slogan, the members of ‘’Enlight’’ and brilliant ideas that dare to come true.

The interview was held by Anna Manukyan

Translator: Marieta Stepanyan © All rights reserved.